In Monterey County, Chevron has taken the lead in a pitched battle over local government’s ability to regulate oil and gas development. At issue is “Measure Z,” a citizens’ initiative passed in November 2016 that impedes county-wide oil and gas development by, among other things, banning hydraulic fracturing, wastewater injection, and the drilling of new oil and gas wells. Chevron’s complaint filed shortly after certification of the election results challenges Measure Z on a number of bases including pre-emption, unlawful takings, and deprivations of due process. A trial was held in November 2017 on the plaintiffs’ preemption arguments, with the possibility of a decision by the end of the year.
Given that California has the United States’ third-largest share of petroleum reserves and is the third-largest petroleum producer, resolution of Chevron’s challenge not only will have presidential effects but also has the potential for broader impacts on energy production.
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